fictional characters on social media
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Why authors should put their fictional characters on social media and how to do it

Get your fictional characters on social media and let the fun -- and reader engagement -- begin. Here are ideas and resources for it.

Sherlock Holmes is there.

So is Harry Potter.

Heck, even Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is on board with it.

You’ll find these fictional characters on social media. And they’re all from books.

It’s a fun and effective strategy for novelists. Have you considered it? Maybe you should!

Why you want your fictional characters on social media

There are many reasons to create social media profiles for your fictional characters. Here are just a few of them:

  1. By bringing your character to life outside the pages of your book, you’re giving readers and fans an opportunity to connect with the character in a way that further bonds them to your writing. This can be especially meaningful for series authors.
  2. It helps you create character depth while you’re writing your book.
  3. You’ve got something to say on social media besides “buy my book.”
  4. You will have an outlet for precious, beloved material cut from the story.
  5. It can be more fun than posting as yourself.

Really, how can you resist?

How to do it effectively

As with all social media use, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, even when the profile is for a fictional character. Keep these tips in mind as you create profiles and content for your fictional friends.

1. Don’t violate anyone’s copyright.

Make sure the profile image you use doesn’t violate any artist’s or photographer’s copyright. Check royalty-free photography sites but consider paying for a photo just to be safe. 

Your favorite AI tool can help with this, too. QuickWrite, the AI software created specifically for authors, generated this image when I asked for a photo-realistic version of Gabriel Allon, the 50-something Israeli counter-intelligence operative hero of the Daniel Silva series

photo created for fictional character on social media
AI-generated image of fictional character Gabriel Allon

If you’re struggling to find just the right “person” to fit your character, consider using a different type of image to represent the character — an apron or flour sack for a baker, and so on.

2. Really get into character when you post. 

Don’t make the mistake of using your character’s Facebook Page to post the same content you’ve shared on your author Page, whether it’s the timeworn unboxing video or details about an upcoming booksigning.

Is that all your character would be talking about on social media? I think not.

Get into character and have a little fun with it! Your character’s status updates, Instagram Stories and images, or TikTok videos should be created from their perspective, not yours.

Stay away from “buy my book” messages that are inherent in author appearance announcements and focus, instead, on what your character might say or do at or about that event.

3. Look for real ways to engage readers with your characters.

Let your character ask questions, provide commentary on world affairs or politics, share favorite image quotes, request movie recommendations, or post pictures from a book club appearance.

Learn what your audience is interested in, and use your character to share information, ask questions, or lead a discussion on that.

4. Don’t market with your fictional characters on social media. Connect.

Stop thinking about selling books. Focus instead on connecting with readers.

Your character’s social media accounts provide a way to bring that character out of the type on the page and into a new dimension. You get to bring that character to life.

If you’re forcing your character to share details about book signings or $.99 sale days, you’re just trying to sell.

Readers aren’t interested in that. They want their favorite character’s take on what’s happening in the world around them.

Resources that help create content for fictional characters on social media

If you like this idea but have trouble imagining how you’d execute it, consider using social media profile templates that educators use to bring fictional characters to life for today’s social media savvy students.

Fakebook” is one, but there are others. Just filling out the templates without worrying about hitting “submit” will get you thinking about how you want to approach this.

You might also have fun with “ifaketext,” an online tool that lets you create images of fake iPhone messages — messages that, of course, might have been sent by your character. (I think this is such a cool tool!)

Here’s one I created for two of my favorite fictional characters, Stephanie Plum and Grandma Mazur, from the numbered Janet Evanovich series:

fictional characters on social media 2

Think about how much fun you’ll have with this — almost as much fun as writing the book!

There’s more to fiction marketing than social media

As you might have discovered, there’s more to promoting, publicizing, and marketing your fiction than using social media effectively.

There’s more to promoting, publicizing, and marketing your fiction than using social media effectively.Click to tweet

Master the basics in my popular online course, “Book Marketing 101 for Fiction: How to Build Book Buzz Basic E-course.”

Learn at your own pace with instant access to all course content.

You owe it to yourself to learn what works, what doesn’t, and where to put your efforts. This course will help you move farther faster.

You want your book marketing plan to include more than posting on social media, but for that portion of it, give this idea a try. You might be surprised by how much fun you have and what you learn about both your character and readers in the process.

Does your book’s character have a social media profile? Share the link in a comment! 

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in December 2015. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. I love this idea! I’ve included text and twitter messages in the text of one of my novels already–that IS how people communicate!–and this would just take things that one step further. Thanks, Sandy, for this nice creativity boost!

  2. I, too, love this idea, what a great way to get to know one’s characters. I’m afraid, though, I might actually spend more time doing this than writing the book!

    1. I don’t believe a fictional character is the same thing as a fake account. Otherwise all the comic book characters that have them (Superman, etc) would have been shut down.


  3. I have a wonderful character who has been going wild on Facebook. The Facebook account has been deleted for breaking the rules, as in its not my authentic name. I am really upset. It was getting me through tough times

    1. Sounds like you set your character up with a profile instead of a page. Create a page and keep the therapy going.


  4. I am writing a “creative nonfiction book about container gardening in the desert”.
    The Mai character, Riley, has her own FB profile that I set up as a new account. But I see that you recommend that she have a page instead. Do I need to do the same thing if setting up her own account for this or is there a way to do it under my account (which would make it a lot easier for app posting!!”

    1. Marylee, you can do it under your own account, and if you want to run FB ads, you’ll need to do exactly that unless you already have a page linked to your personal account. Ads require credit card info and your character won’t have that. If you don’t plan to do any FB advertising, you can use the profile w/out adding a page. That said…I’d find out if FB allows profiles for fictional characters. It might not.


  5. Thanks for bringing this seemingly obvious tactic to light Sandra. I am happy to report I saw this opportunity long ago, since my character Captain Polo the climate bear is all about spreading awareness on climate change. He does this in the comic books of which he is the main character, but also on social media through his own accounts. I find Instagram and Twitter good for this, though since Twitter became X for some reason Captain Polo’s account disappeared. Shame, he had hundreds of followers! The caveat of having more than one profile on any given social media is that it means double the time and effort to manage it all! I have been keeping up with it to some extent but admit having fallen behind lately.

    1. I’m so happy to see you’re ahead of the curve, Alan! But why do you think your Twitter account disappeared? That’s so weird.


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